It produced films including Peggy Sue Got Married (Francis Ford Coppola, 1986), Vice Versa (Brian Gilbert, 1984) and Big (Penny Marshall, 1988).
Will there be some gay or bisexual complication, with a woman in a man’s body suddenly finding herself attracted to another woman, for instance (and likewise for the male switch)?
Will there be certain social experiences of gender raised – like the sexual harassment of women on the streets or in the workplace; or the homo-social rituals of male bonding through sport, drinking and whatnot?
She is a smart newspaper journalist, an uptight careerist; he is a budding TV personality, superficial and narcissistic.
She wants commitment, he doesn’t; like the hero of Switch, Brett is a bit of a cad or sleazeball, and he has very little understanding of a woman’s needs. ”, cries Tash as they’re breaking up, and that is the mystical cue for a typical supernatural movie switch.
While Tash complains about “men’s hormones”, it seems that hormones have been displaced in the split between mind and body: her mind, obviously, is not affected by his hormones; while Brett’s mind still seems to be carrying his hormones around.
A really good, smart comedy would have tried to logically think and work through some of these mind-boggling (not to mention body-boggling) concepts.
So, I admit, I was a bit trepedatious approaching Dating the Enemy.
Another contemporary example of this mode of Australian film is Love and Other Catastrophes (Emma-Kate Croghan, 1996), but I cannot say anything more about that one, particularly as I am in it (playing what Margaret Pomeranz kindly described as a “film studies hero”).
To be fair, neither Dating the Enemy nor Switch stay with these initial divisions between male/female and mind/body.
Both films try to move toward some other space – usually, some rapprochement or mutual understanding between the previously divided sexes.